Heating Fuel Prices Remain Stable Despite Rise in Crude Oil Prices

July 10, 2013

Augusta, Maine – The Governor’s Energy Office (GEO) conducted its weekly heating fuel price survey on Monday, July 8, 2013, and found the current statewide average cash price for No. 2 heating oil to be $3.36 per gallon, the same price as last week and two cents lower than two weeks ago. Kerosene prices have remained relatively stable, dropping one cent from two weeks ago to a statewide average of $3.81 per gallon. Propane prices have followed a similar trend: this week’s average price statewide is $2.67 a gallon, a one cent decrease since June 24th.

As of Friday, July 5th, the per-barrel price for West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil was $103.22. Despite the $6.66 increase from a week earlier, WTI crude, the American benchmark for crude price, averaged $95.18 per barrel during the months of May and June. The International benchmark Brent crude averaged $103.34 during the same time frame. The increase in price of WTI over the past week could stem from decreased production from nations in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Another factor could be that global consumption of liquid fuels outpaced production in the month of June by 0.3 million barrels. However, increased production in North America will likely keep cost to American consumers relatively stable. http://www.eia.gov/analysis/requests/ndaa/

Using this week’s average heating oil price ($3.36) and converting to a common heating unit value (million Btu), the price of fuel oil is $24.23 This compares with an equivalent heating unit value for natural gas of $17.00 (at $1.70/therm); propane, $29.23 (at $2.67/gallon); wood pellets, $14.55 (at $240/ton); cord wood, $10.50 (at $210/cord) and electricity, $43.96 (at 15 cents per kwh). The electricity cost is for traditional baseboard heat. Heat pumps, a recent technological advancement, are much more efficient, so total energy costs are lower than oil, kerosene, or propane. As of July 8, 2013


Heating Oil

Statewide

Southwest

Central

Eastern

Western

Northern

Average

3.36

3.27

3.48

3.39

3.32

3.42

High

3.66

3.40

3.60

3.66

3.43

3.45

Low

3.08

3.08

3.30

3.08

3.08

3.35

Kerosene

3.81

3.76

3.93

3.81

3.78

3.82

Propane

2.67

2.61

2.76

2.56

2.72

2.83

It is important to note that the price for heating oil is a statewide average, and that prices in a given geographic region of the state may be considerably higher or lower than this average. This week, within the Energy Office sample, the lowest heating oil price of $3.08 was found in three regions of the state, and the highest of $3.66 was found in one region in the state. Also, the statewide average price for propane is based on a use of at least 900 gallons a year. Households using propane just for cooking or hot water generally pay a higher per gallon price. The table above provides current Maine cash prices in dollars rounded to the nearest penny.

The GEO has a calculator on its web site that allows consumers to estimate home heating costs and price impacts of various energy sources. See http://www.maine.gov/energy/index.html

Efficiency Maine links Maine homeowners and businesses with qualified, certified contractors who provide access to energy improvement options. For program details call 866-376-2463 or visit www.efficiencymaine.com.

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For Immediate Release

Contact:
Lisa Smith
(207) 624-7445
lisa.j.smith@maine.gov